Craving Ice while Pregnant: Is it Safe?


During pregnancy, many women get most unusual food cravings. Chewing ice is a huge temptation and most pregnant women would be surprised by the attraction felt towards it.

In this article:

Is Ice Craving Normal During Pregnancy?
Why Do Pregnant Women Crave for Ice?
Risks of Consuming Excessive Ice in Pregnancy
Is Eating Ice During Pregnancy Bad?
What Does Cold Water Do to a Pregnant Woman?

craving ice while pregnant

Is Ice Craving Normal During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, eating ice cubes may become a favorite activity due to the hormonal changes taking place in the body. This is normal as almost all pregnant women love to do this and there haven’t been any negative consequences connected to it. Ice is not considered harmful to the human body, pregnant or otherwise. Especially when compared to cravings for clay or dirt, ice is surely a safe choice for a pregnant woman.

In medical terms, the temptation to consume ice is called as Pagophagia. However, regular crunching on ice can do a lot of harm to teeth and also lead to a mighty sore throat because of the cold. The urge to eat non-nutritive items is caused by the condition known as pica which is common with women having low iron levels.

Why Do Pregnant Women Crave for Ice?

Pagophagia in pregnancy can cause intense cravings where a woman would love to gnaw and suck on ice cubes and feel no guilt for doing so. This happens because –

Morning Sickness

Most women suffer from morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy because of hormonal changes and since it indicates a healthier baby inside, it is a good sign too. Women who have trouble keeping food down and even a glass of water can make them rush to the washroom, find solace in ice cubes. Ice does not have any odour and can be digested easily, unlike other nausea causing foods. The queasy, early morning feeling seems to ease by crunching ice and could be a cause for its craving.

Iron Deficiency

This is a serious problem. A powerful and repeated desire to eat ice cubes or any non-food item is a type of pica. This indicated the craving to eat zero-nutrition and non-food items such as sand, glue, clay or chalk. Ice, fortunately, isn’t as dangerous but has been linked to iron deficiency and has to be bought to doctor’s notice. However, pica is still an eating disorder and could lead to health problems during pregnancy. Iron deficiency could lead to anemia and the doctor may recommend a B12 vitamin supplement and dietary changes.


A pregnant woman’s blood volume increases by almost 50% and can make one feel hot. To cope with the increased blood volume, the blood vessels dilate slightly to help the blood come near the surface. This could make one feel warmer than usual. In the third trimester, the metabolism is also high, which leads to heat. This can result in craving ice water during pregnancy, especially in summers. By gorging on the ice, this heat can be conquered to some extent and can keep the mother and baby hydrated. However, make sure fizzy, sugary cold drinks do not become a part of this routine.


Heartburn or acid reflux is an uncomfortable feeling, especially when it rears up at the end of the pregnancy term. During pregnancy, the placenta produces the hormone progesterone which helps relax the muscles of the uterus. This also opens the valve between the stomach and the esophagus, thus allowing the stomach acids to travel back easily. Ice is a natural method of combating this uneasy feeling and proves to be a handy home remedy.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Pregnant women often suffer from the burning mouth syndrome which brings about a tingling feeling in the mouth. One of the positive effects of eating ice during pregnancy is that it can arrest the pain and numbness in the mouth. Applying ice or consuming it can easily help curb the burning on the lips and the discomfort in the cheek. Since this syndrome isn’t visible nor any tests can be carried out, its treatment can be difficult to analyze. If experiencing this feeling make sure to consult the doctor.

Eating Disorder

Many people have repetitive tendencies like biting nails or washing hands which provides temporary satisfaction, people continue to indulge in it. Eating ice throughout pregnancy can also be connected to the pica disorder but no research has been able to confirm this. The baby has put a risk since it is being denied vital nutrients as the mother prefers eating ice, leading to serious consequences.

Risks of Consuming Excessive Ice in Pregnancy

Be careful while consuming excessive amounts as it could cause –

Tooth Problem

Excessive crunching on ice cubes could damage the teeth, especially during pregnancy. The tooth enamel could be damaged thus promoting decay and increased sensitivity towards hot and cold food items. It is better to let the ice melt on the tongue instead of biting on the cubes.


If the mother-to-be gives in to the cravings for eating ice, it could put health as well as the baby’s health at risk. The baby may not receive all the nutrition need to grow and develop. Mother’s own health is also at risk if don’t eat well.

Sore Throat

A sore throat during pregnancy is a common feature but if ice cubes included in the diet, it could further aggravate the situation. This will irritate the throat making life difficult in an already challenging situation.


This is a health hazard to look for, whether pregnant or not. Inadvertently ingests a large piece of ice and this could lead to choking. Make sure the ice cubes are small in size.

Is Eating Ice During Pregnancy Bad?

It is not bad but may indicate something potentially more serious than a craving. While eating ice doesn’t cause any harm during pregnancy, it may be hard on the teeth.

What Does Cold Water Do to a Pregnant Woman?

As it is safe to eat ice but that doesn’t mean it is safe to consume cold water. Keep it strictly to pure water.


Though these cravings disappear after delivery, it can put an element of doubt in mind about its safety.


Craving Ice While Pregnant: Why Does This Happen? And Is It Safe?